If you’ve lived in a strata complex for more than a few months, you’ll be well aware of the premium you and your fellow residents place on parking spaces. Regardless of the age or size of your building, in a world where the number of cars is growing, where to put them when we’re not using them is a major issue.
Many new complexes provide ample parking for residents, with some offering lockable garages and even space for a small storage shed. Residents of two-car households may even be able to rent or buy an additional space, so the question of where to park isn’t as much of a challenge (though it’s not completely foolproof – more on that later). These complexes may also offer a generous number of visitor spaces. Everybody wins. (Well, mostly.)
On the other end of the spectrum are older complexes with little to no parking facilities; those that do have parking only provide one space or garage per residence. These spaces can be very “compact” too – larger SUVs, 4WD or vans don’t stand a chance of fitting in the space, even if they can make it up the narrow driveways. And off-street visitor parking is a rare and wondrous thing.
Like other common facilities you share with your neighbours, there are protocols and etiquette you should be aware of.
How to be a good neighbour in the car park
According to Perth-based Strata Data, the most common parking issues are:
- someone parking in another resident’s space
- parking on common property
- parking in a way that blocks a resident’s access, either to their own space, or the building’s garage entryway.
So already, we have a Top 3 list of “don’ts” when parking your car in or near your building. Visitor car parks can be highly contentious as well. As the name implies, these spaces are for visitors, not occupants. If you have two cars, but only one space, you must park your second car on the street. Alternatively, you might want to see if you can lease a second car space from a fellow resident who doesn’t have a car.
It’s a good idea to be familiar with your complex’s rules around visitor parking, like how long people can stay for, and make sure your visitors know in advance of any rules or conditions that may affect them.
How to handle a not-so-good neighbour in the car park
The most important thing to remember when someone may have parked in your space is to remain calm and respectful. Give them the benefit of the doubt, at least in the first instance. Leave a note on the car, or talk with the vehicle’s owner directly.
Some complexes don’t make it very clear as to which spaces belong to whom. In this case, it may be worth asking your body corporate committee to let everyone in the building or complex know – as a reminder to all, and as a heads up for new residents – which spaces belong to whom, highlighting any relevant by-laws. They may also want to clarify the use of the visitors’ parking spaces if there is a pattern of them being misused as well. (Your body corporate may even decide it’s time to implement a new parking system, or upgrade its existing one.)
Under Queensland’s Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997, body corporate by-laws – including those regulating parking – must be enforced. If you’ve spoken to your neighbour, or the visitor, and they refuse to comply, then it may be time to let your building manager or body corporate committee know. Your body corporate can issue a formal notice, or a penalty (cannot impose a penalty), to the offending resident or visitor, in accordance with its by-laws.
While each building is different, there will still be a process to follow for regulating and enforcing by-laws. This process is guided by the Act, and ensures fair and reasonable treatment for everyone. At no stage are residents entitled to take matters into their own hands. While the space in question may be your property, the offending vehicle is not. Interfering with the vehicle in any way – for instance, by having it clamped or towed – is illegal.
When the plot thickens
We said it earlier, and it bears repeating: parking in strata complexes can be a tricky business.
If you’ve got a situation you’re not sure about, or a repeat offender you don’t know how to handle, or any other communal living issues, your body corporate managers should be able and willing to help.
Certainly at Tower Body Corporate we help our clients with these types of situations, and ensure that they are handled in a compliant and fair manner for all. It’s one of the many issues we take care of for the residents of the buildings we manage throughout the Gold Coast and Brisbane regions.
Photo by Serge Kutuzov on Unsplash